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    #1

    Shrugging wordliness and rank agonies ...

    Hello,

    Can anybody help me to understand this complex passage from a story?

    "He felt a momentīs hard and shrugging wordliness. Such was the incorrigible levity and suppleness of human nature that, even in the most superb examples, the stuff of it was not quite fine enough, thank heaven, to keep heroic griefs undimmed. That saved a lot of worry! Rank agonies became in time mere dull and homely nuisances like stomach-aches; in longer time, with luck, the pebbles in a shoe."

    The story is written in a very ambiguous way, but as I understand it, it is about a convalescent alcoholic who has broken the promise not to drink again and now is out of the water again. The paragraph I have posted above follows an episode in which he destroyes his resolution not to be on the waggon again by getting tight with his friends in a bar.

    Convalescent, John Metcalfe, 1928

    Thanks if you try and help.

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Shrugging wordliness and rank agonies ...

    Iceberg Slim it ain't.

    "He felt a momentīs hard and shrugging worldliness." I think it means he felt briefly that he understood and could fully cope with his circumstances.

    "Rank agonies became in time mere dull and homely nuisances like stomach-aches; in longer time, with luck, the pebbles in a shoe." Severe pains became after a time tolerable, and with luck eventually trivial.

    I cannot interpret the second and third sentences. They read like drivel to me. Possibly some additional context might help.

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